So very much is less controversial and misunderstood as dog food and what is in it. We have so much information at our disposal and opinions change weekly on what is best to feed your dog especially if you are looking for your food to help your dog live long and healthy and with few complications. I can’t begin to offer you my entire side of the story here or you would lose interest but lets get part one of 10 or 20 started.
I do believe you are what you eat. Especially for dogs. Much of the rest seems to rely on genetics and acute care.
There are at least 100 different dog foods, kibble and wet to choose from and as many supplements to list as well.
So what is the best dog food for my dog? I get asked this weekly and I don’t have a single answer because I tailor the answer to your dog. Just like I train your dog to your liking and around your abilities I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer but I do believe there are some basic truths and rules to keep you on track. I will mention what I feed at the end of this.
Since this is part I, lets stay simple. I am going to list a few easy rules.
1. Don’t buy dog food from a grocery store. They all suck for the most part. 1% may be ok.
2. Don’t believe the crap marketing on TV. It is the same crap marketed towards you.
3. Your dog needs meat and a lot of it. Your dog is not a vegan or vegetarian.
4. Grains aren’t as bad as what is replacing them, (in many cases)
5. Your dogs skin, coat and internal health are reliant on his quality of feed. Your 15 year old Lab who lived on Alpo and Purina got lucky and probably wasn’t as healthy internally as you thought. God bless him.
6. Learn how to read a dog food label. You did it for you and your child so do it for your dog.
7. Don’t free feed your dog. This is both a health and behavior issue. More to come later on this.
8. Cooking for your dog isn’t always as great as you think
Lets go through these points here.
Grocery store foods as well as many others are filled with “fillers”, inferior products, and bad preservatives. What is the point?
Even Blue and Wellness who do extensive marketing can improve on their dog food so don’t believe the marketing.
If you don’t have a specific animal protein first and a meat meal with a named meat after, you probably don’t want it. No by products or generic animal protein, or corn, wheat, or grain proteins which you will find often as a gluten. Pay for meat.
Hey! believe it or not some dogs can tolerate carbs better than we thought but I still don’t like them. Brown rice and Oatmeal are decent grains and can be better than grain free in many cases.
Potato, potato + grains, sweet potato, and tapioca are all replacing the grains in many cases. Most of these are even starchier or sugary than the original grains. You all just freaked and said no grains so this is what they give you. Look for low sugary fillers if you must. Ideally peas, chickpeas, lentils etc.
The Glycemic index of a Russet potato is 70-100 where as a chickpeas is around 30-40. Sugar breeds yeast which, well, is a problem. I see as many dogs with yeast issues as I do flea issues.
If you have a skin or internal problem look to your food first and then call a nutritionist, not a vet. While I love my vet, I don’t follow his nutrition advise. We agree to disagree and I only see him once a year to have a nice hello and maybe a rabies shot. My dogs are healthy.
You can go to dogfoodadvisor.com to understand a pet food label as they are confusing and learn about how they are tricking you by ingredient splitting to make the meat content look larger or the protein level seem high even though it is not from meat.
Free feeding is just a power give to your dog and it can also make them overweight. Imagine a bowl of doritos or chocolates constantly up for grabs. It also doesn’t let you know when something is wrong as you don’t always see them eat.
Finally, cooking is great and you can make some good food but don’t forget there are lots of vitamins and minerals plus other additives you will want to include. Just boiling chicken with rice and sweet potato isn’t going to be the best for your pet. Even if you cook broccoli or other veggies there is still a lot you missed.
I am done for know but next time I will go more in depth on specific feeding options like what I feed, which is right now….a 75% raw food diet, between 80-95% animal, 20% kibble (high protein low carb/filler kibble), with added nutrients like flax or coconut oil, a joint supplement like Phycox, and sometimes a kelp based powdered vitamin such as Nupro. All in all it only takes me 3 min. to prepare my dogs food and I have 3 dogs.
Lastly, my black lab is so shiny she turns blue with a camera flash and no one is overweight or suffering from any disease or medical condition. My dogs are 2,4, and 8. I plan to keep them this healthy for a long time.
Until next time.